Wisconsin News

Assignment: Education - New Sparta STEM Charter School

The new charter middle school opens fall 2014

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) - Eighth Grade math. Some would say it is loved by few and hated by many.

"I just heard on the radio today, 'oh, 7th grade math. I was done.' They just lose the interest," said Jo Brinks, Meadowview Middle School 8th grade math teacher.

Brinks has been a math teacher in the Sparta School District for 21 years. She would like to change that mentality.

"One of our goals is we're just trying to show kids just how important it is," said Brinks.

So, Mrs. Brinks along with two of her fellow Meadowview Middle School teachers have been hired to design and teach at Sparta's newest charter school focused on STEM.


"Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," said Jim Hellman, STEM Middle School governance council president.

The governance council oversees the new charter middle school. Hellman's son's will be attending the STEM school next year in 6th and 7th grade.

"The first thing I like about it is that it makes school fun," said Hellman. "It makes it exciting for the kids. The second thing... I think it shows the kids there is relevance to what they learned in the morning with the math and the science, and how it relates to some real-world issues. And hopefully that will make them want to take those classes as they get onto the high school level and college level.

The curriculum will include hands-on projects that focus on science, technology, engineering and math topics with an emphasis on 21st century skills, like problem solving.

While it hasn't been decided yet, a school day may start with traditional classes in the morning. This would allow for project work, visits to area companies, and classroom presentations by area businesses to take place in the afternoon.

"It helps the students have that extra time to get more involved or get the reinforcement that they need of the skills," said Brinks. "But it also allows us to expand on the concept."

Educators in Sparta are hoping the results of their new charter school will build a love for math and science.

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